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Play, action or pass: Week 7 plays in the NFL and college football

The Packers have lost Aaron Rodgers but still have talent. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Just how vital is the Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers to the point spread? The opening line moved the Packers from a -6.5 point favorite before the injury to an opening 4 point underdog at home. The line got as high as New Orleans -6.5 Monday evening at the Westgate, but seems to be settling into the 4.5 point range as of Thursday afternoon. A 6.5 point favorite wins approximately 71.1% of its games, while 3.5 point underdogs win about 41.5% of the time, that's a 30% swing. If you want to measure what these numbers mean, let's take the Patriots last year. When the Tom Brady suspension was announced, the line moved 6 points. Having seen some of what he can do, we can now say that Jimmy Garoppolo is a more competent quarterback than Brett Hundley. The line ended up settling after Garoppolo's first performance week 1, to about a 4.5 point difference. But what did we really know about Garoppolo prior to him starting those few games? Other players worth substantial points to their team include Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan, all worth approximately 6-7 points.  In 2014, the Arizona Cardinals Carson Palmer came out red hot to a 6-0 start. In the fourth quarter of Week 6, Palmer tore his ACL, adjusting the following week's point spread -6.5 points for Drew Stanton. This same weekend, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are missing Jameis Winston. The point adjustment for him is only 1.5-2 points. As you can see, the oddsmakers are grading Rodgers absence historically high and possibly the most significant loss to a team according to a point spread. But also, anticipating the public would drive the number up seeing what the Saints did to the Lions scoring 52 points. While Rodgers is arguably the best player in the league, don't overreact. Vegas has now moved the Green Bay Packers from a 5-1 to a 12-1 favorite to win the Super Bowl.

Teams getting the most action:

Carolina Panthers: 76%

Tennessee Titans: 74%

Denver Broncos: 73%

Kansas City Chiefs: 72%

Jacksonville Jaguars: 69%

What do all these teams have in common? Road Favorites.


Plays

Buffalo-3

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense ranks in the bottom three vs. quarterbacks and wide receivers. Look for Tyrod Taylor to have a good day as he quietly has thrown for 910 yards with a 6/2 TD-INT ratio. With Jameis Winston's shoulder being banged up, enter journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tampa has lost four straight road games and has allowed 24 points per game giving up 403 yards along the way. Buffalo has covered coming out of a bye the past two seasons. The Bills are 4-1 are ATS this year while the Bucs are 1-6 vs. line last six since late 2016.

Denver-1

The Chargers are 0-3 Straight up and ATS at Home this year. When we say home, we use that loosely as attendance has been at an all-time low at the Stub Hub Center. With Home Field advantage in the NFL counting as 3 points on average, is that Home Field factored in this line? If it is, the line is telling you the Chargers are a better team? Give me the better defense, the #1 rush Defense, coming off a performance, where they gave up over a 100 yards to an unknown running back. Look for the Broncos to get off to a hot start vs. a Chargers team that is trailing 50-7 in first quarters this year. Broncos are 5-1 Straight up and ATS the last six in this series on the road.

Pass

Packers + 4.5 (wait until kickoff line goes higher)

Overreaction!! That's what this line screams. In the NFL, things are viewed as a what have you done for me lately. New Orleans is coming off a 52 point performance where the defense score a few times and Mark Ingram shined; Now they travel to Green Bay to face a wounded team with a backup quarterback. The critical factor in this game will be the weather. It will be raining all weekend and a forecast calling for 80% rain 12 mph winds with a low of 42 degrees. These are all good things for a Packers team looking to play different defenses as the secondary is also depleted making them turn away from the Nitro package. If I had to pick, I would take the Packers +4.5-6 if you can get it that high close to kickoff. When a defense is that bad, and your QB's home/Road splits are massive, Give me the home dog vs. a team getting 70% of the action.

Action: Teaser of the week

Tennesee-1 /Seattle Pick

Dallas Cowboys Team Total over 26.5

Giants/ Seahawks under 40.5

For any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on twitter.

Rams-3

Travel: is the Keyword here. A game being played in London.

 

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Rootes began writing The Winning Game Plan last March. Photo via: NRG Park/Facebook

Football players, coaches and general managers have come and gone, but only one person has been running the business side of the Texans, well, even before they were the Texans. Jamey Rootes has been President of the Houston Texans since 1999, when an NFL team in Houston was still just a gleam in owner Bob McNair's eyes. That's before the team adopted the name "Texans" in 2000, before there was NRG Stadium, which opened as Reliant Stadium in 2000, and before they became serial champs of the AFC South, six titles between 2011-2019.

The precise date was Oct. 6, 1999 when NFL owners voted 29-0 to award the NFL's 32nd and newest franchise to Houston. Not only that, Houston was awarded the 2004 Super Bowl. Rootes, 34 years old with no NFL experience, had his work cut out for him. Before taking the job in Houston, Rootes was team president, general manager and CEO of selling peanuts and popcorn for the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

Major League Soccer, with all due respect, is not nearly a national obsession like the National Football League.

"I wasn't intimidated," Rootes said. "There's a quote that I love, 'Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.' I've always been a purpose-driven person. As for the step up to the NFL, I went from knowing nothing at the start of my time in Columbus to five years later thinking, OK, I've got this sports thing down. Actually, I had a very significant reduction in my responsibilities in Houston. When I was in Columbus, I ran the stadium, I ran the team's business, I was the general manager so I did the talent side of it, too. When I came to Houston, all I had to do was the business, so that was great."

Rootes has captured his remarkable journey from the soccer team at Clemson to grad school at Indiana University to the business world at IBM and Proctor & Gamble to the Clemson Crew, to ultimately being named President of the Houston Texans in his new book, The Winning Game Plan: A Proven Leadership Playbook for Continuous Business Success, available next week.

I've known Rootes from his day one with the Texans, but I still had to ask: everybody knows what the general manager does, and what the head coach does. What exactly does the President of an NFL team worth $3.3 billion do?

"I like to use the parallel of a pharmaceutical company to describe my job. There are two sides to that company. First you put scientists in one building and you leave them alone. They create products, which is what our football team is. The football side has a coach and general manager and all the people who prepare the team to play on Sunday. But getting that product to market is done by the business side, traditional business disciplines. Those are the things that fall to me. Basically, everything between the white lines is run by the football side. Everything outside of those lines, I do," Rootes said.

Between 1999 and 2002, when the Texans played their first game (let the record show the Texans defeated the Dallas Cowboy, 19-10), the team was essentially a massive start-up project. First orders of business for Rootes involved building a new stadium, developing relationships with suppliers, contractors and government officials, preparing for a Super Bowl and, most important, developing a relationship with fans.

Rootes began writing The Winning Game Plan last March, but it's really an accumulation of lessons learned and behind-the-scenes stories about building the Texans from scratch into one of the most admired and valuable franchises in all of sports.

"I've always been a meticulous note-taker. I've kept every presentation I've ever done. I took all of my notes and concepts and put those down on paper," Rootes said. "To be a good leader, you need a wild imagination. You can show me a blank piece of paper, but I don't see it as blank. To me, it's a finished product that hasn't been created yet," Rootes said.

Rootes lays out his leadership strategy in seven chapters: Are You a Manager or a Leader, Get the Right People on Your Team, Build a Winning Culture, Create Raving Fans, a Winning Playbook for Adversity and Success, Your Leadership Playbook and Play to Win.

He learned lesson No. 1 the hard way. A friend once counseled Rootes, "your staff doesn't like the way you're all up in their business, you need to back off." Rootes took that advice to heart.

"It was an epiphany. I wasn't a leader. That's when I truly began thinking about leadership. I say this all the time, I don't do anything. All I do is create an environment where exceptional people can be their very best self. I know what's going on. I'm fully informed. I leave every game day exhausted. I get there early. I do the things I need to do. I kiss babies. I shake hands. I present checks. I entertain clients. I'm dialed in. It absolutely wears me out because I love this organization so much. I am so proud of what we've been able to do for this great city of Houston."

I asked Rootes, as someone who lives for Game Day and a packed NRG Stadium, are you devastated by 2020, the year of COVID-19 and small crowds limited by Centers for Disease Control guidelines?

"I don't look at it that way. I think there's a song by 10,000 Maniacs that said, these are the days that you'll remember. I told my staff, I know you're all going through hell right now, but later on in life, you'll talk about this year. Things that are important are memorable, for the positive and those things that leave a scar. You learn from adversity and you're a better person for enduring it. Victor Frankl said 'We can discover meaning in life in three different ways, by creating a work or doing a deed, experiencing something or encountering someone, and by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.' Suffering is part of life. He should know, he survived a Nazi concentration camp," Rootes said.

H-E-B President Scott McClelland wrote the forward to The Winning Game Plan. Rootes dedicates the book to late Texans owner Bob McNair. Rootes' book is a fun read. All I kept thinking was, where was this book when I needed it? And before you buy too much into Rootes as a leader, consider that Rootes admits that he had to ask for wife Melissa's permission before he could accept the Texans job.

Personal note: I believe that a big part of leadership is the ability to keep a promise. Several years ago, I was riding my bicycle with my dog Lilly on a leash. It was the only way I could keep up with her. Well, one time Lilly saw a squirrel and pulled me off my bicycle. I tumbled a few times and rolled next to the curb. When I looked up, there was Jamey Rootes. I told him, "There's no need for you to tell anybody about this." He never said a word.

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